Thursday, February 7, 2013

Volunteering at a Museum

     I’ve mentioned previously that I wear many “hats” here at the museum.  In small museums it is common for staff members to take on multiple roles.  But none of us could complete our duties without the help of our dedicated group of museum volunteers!  They donate their time and expertise to tackle a wide variety of tasks both in the galleries with the visitors, and behind the scenes at the museum.  They may not get the same public recognition as some of the staff members, but they are a vital part of the museum.  Today I thought I’d show just some of the work done by our museum volunteers.
Sometimes the first face a visitor sees is that of a volunteer docent.

Volunteers lead some of the museum tours.

They give lectures.

They represent the museum at outreach programs.

Some even get to portray Civil War surgeons….

…or soldiers!

Volunteers help to teach our visitors things like signaling.

Sometimes teaching involves playing games! Here some volunteers play a game of croquet in front of the Pry House.

Other times the visitors can join in the games. Here a young visitor is introduced to the game of Graces.

We are very fortunate that a Civil War Santa Claus volunteers his time at our museum each Christmas!

Volunteers also work behind the scenes doing research.


As a volunteer you never know what you will be needed do – sometimes it’s directing traffic….

… or helping to reorganize the store….


….cleaning the museum….

….decorating the museum….

….doing conservation work on the artifacts (if you have the proper training!)….

….or weeding the garden!


     Volunteers do all these jobs, and many more, for no pay and usually not much recognition.  The museum could not run without them though.  I am very grateful for all that they do!

Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

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